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(Forbes)   Ten Mad Men-esque HR policies that should disappear in 2014, like Attendance Policies and Progressive Discipline. Yes, just let the employees have run of the place and trust that they will show up to work and not f*ck things up when they're there   (forbes.com) divider line 289
    More: Fail, Mad Men, McGraw-Hill, frequent flyers, process work  
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15821 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Jan 2014 at 2:32 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-26 12:53:17 PM  
just let the employees have run of the place and trust that they will show up to work and not f*ck things up when they're there

That how all my jobs were.
 
2014-01-26 01:46:55 PM  
Over/under that this woman still calls her father daddy?
 
2014-01-26 02:05:01 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.com

"I believe you.  I read the article in Forbes."


I've been an HR person since Cyndi Lauper ruled the airwaves

cultspark.com


"Go on..."
 
2014-01-26 02:33:56 PM  
That's what passes for an article in Forbes now?  WTF?
 
2014-01-26 02:40:09 PM  
fark off lady.
 
2014-01-26 02:42:43 PM  
HR is about the most useless made-up position ever to plague businesses.
 
2014-01-26 02:43:35 PM  
Like this event?
img2-3.timeinc.net
cache.gawker.com
 
2014-01-26 02:44:57 PM  

Mugato: just let the employees have run of the place and trust that they will show up to work and not f*ck things up when they're there

That how all my jobs were.


That's how work's been for me for a while now. Boss spends more time at other sites then he does at ours so we're pretty much on our own here.
 
2014-01-26 02:45:22 PM  
What's that? Your sixth grandmother passed away? The funeral is in Vegas? Well, take all the time you need, at least we know where you will be at on the Fourth.
 
2014-01-26 02:45:54 PM  
Currently dealing with some HR bs trying to just get in the applicant pool for a better job. Pray for me, argentina. Lol
 
2014-01-26 02:46:54 PM  
My company has no vacation or sick day policy. It's wonderfully flexible, I've taken more vacation time than I ever would have earned normally, and I work harder than I have at any other place.

The downside is, when you leave, you have no accrued days to cash out. Also, if you're in some perpetually 'crunched' schedule, you'll never be able to take time off. But do far for me, it's worked out well.
 
2014-01-26 02:48:13 PM  
This person worked in HR, yet knows nothing about it?

No dress code and handle "Exceptions" as they arise?    Well, what qualifies as an exception?  Any entry level employee in HR would be able to tell you that if it isn't explicitly stated, and equally enforced, then it cannot be enforced.  SO if you don't list a dress code, then you write "Sally" up cause you don't liek what she is wearing you've got a lawsuit on your hands.


Pius, no progressive discipline?  Good luck attempting to fire someone without having a verbal and written warning first without having a lawsuit for unfair dismissal.  (Union states - you non-union states can fire your employees for any damn reason you want).


No Death Cert thing I get.  But it is needed.  Otherwise employees will have a death in the family anytime they want some extra time off.   Family already has to pass out death certs to creditors and other contractual parties related to the deceased.  So it isn't like they don't have copies of the Death Cert.

All of those changes sound good for "good employees".  But not everyone is a "good employee".  So you need those policies to deal with those that requirement.
 
2014-01-26 02:49:53 PM  
"Stealing Airline Miles
I travel a ton in my job, speaking to groups around the world. Every hour in a plane or a TSA security line takes a minute or two off my lifespan, but at least I get to keep my frequent flyer miles. When your employees travel for business, it's their butt in that airplane seat, not yours. They've earned their frequent flyer miles. Stealing your employees' frequent flyer miles to use for other employees' business travel is like stealing your team members' homemade lunches to feed the night shift. If you've got enough money to stay in business, you can afford to buy the flights you need."

Funny, I thought airline miles were a reward for spending money (what your company does) and not a reward for riding a plane.  If she gets to keep them, I wonder how she feels about paying taxes on them like any other employee gift.
 
2014-01-26 02:50:14 PM  
In my experience the places run with policies like in the article are usually staffed by kids/minimum wage earners and/or are ruled from afar by "corporate". So because the local supervisory staff has no real power, they go apeshiat enforcing what they can.
 
2014-01-26 02:50:29 PM  
For one thing, stop calling it "human resources." It's the most disgustingly dehumanizing term you can use. What's wrong with personnel? Human resources frames your workforce as no different than any other resources. It says "Well, sure, we employ people, but they're all basically just the same as paper clips and desks when you get down to it."
 
2014-01-26 02:51:01 PM  

GORDON: HR is about the most useless made-up position ever to plague businesses.


images.politico.com

"HR is about the most useless made-up position ever to plague businesses."
 
2014-01-26 02:52:08 PM  

shtychkn: SO if you don't list a dress code, then you write "Sally" up cause you don't liek what she is wearing you've got a lawsuit on your hands.


If you read the whole thing, she thinks writing up an employee like a freshman in high school is ridiculous.
 
2014-01-26 02:52:43 PM  
This is the only HR person I know of who ever did anything worth a damn.

www.unclewaltersrants.com

....and she doesn't actually exist.
 
2014-01-26 02:53:34 PM  
shtychkn:
No Death Cert thing I get.  But it is needed.  Otherwise employees will have a death in the family anytime they want some extra time off.   Family already has to pass out death certs to creditors and other contractual parties related to the deceased.  So it isn't like they don't have copies of the Death Cert.

In that example (and shown in several others in the article), the gist is that if you can't trust your employees to act like professional adults, then why did you hire them?  In that respect, it's your fault as an employer for failing to hire the correct candidates.  A responsible professional shouldn't have to show a note from mommy/doctor/coroner to get an unscheduled day off.
 
2014-01-26 02:53:55 PM  

Bloody William: For one thing, stop calling it "human resources." It's the most disgustingly dehumanizing term you can use.


They wouldn't be called resources if you weren't supposed to strip-mine them.
 
2014-01-26 02:54:29 PM  
The comment on ATS was spot-on.
 
2014-01-26 02:54:36 PM  
Elimination of attendance policies is a variation on trend toward giving employees "unlimited vacation days," and the motive behind both is betrayed in the author's admission that corporations expect their employees to be obsessed by their work at 3 a.m. The unmistakable subtext is, you get as much vacation time as you want with the understanding that if you actually claim a single vacation day you are committing career suicide.
 
2014-01-26 02:56:04 PM  
My company just fired an employee that had worked there for 12 years because her husband left her and the bank took her house.  She was put up for promotion, they ran a credit check, and out she went.

It's the stupidest policy I've ever come across in my entire life.  They run a brand new background check every time you get promoted, and if you don't meet the same qualifications as a brand new hire, they can you.  And I don't work in a highly secure area - it's a university for fark's sake.  I'd like to take the VP of HR (it was her idea) and dropkick her across a parking lot until she realizes what a stupid, shiatty policy that is.
 
2014-01-26 02:57:04 PM  

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: In that example (and shown in several others in the article), the gist is that if you can't trust your employees to act like professional adults, then why did you hire them?


Well in all fairness, No one truly represents themselves accurately in the couple interviews and resume it takes to get hired.
 
2014-01-26 02:57:34 PM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: shtychkn: SO if you don't list a dress code, then you write "Sally" up cause you don't liek what she is wearing you've got a lawsuit on your hands.

If you read the whole thing, she thinks writing up an employee like a freshman in high school is ridiculous.


I addressed that too.


So if "sally" isn't dressing appropriate for work, how do you handle it if you don't have a dress code and you don't write people up?  Difficulty: The policy needs to insulate the company from lawsuit.
 
2014-01-26 02:58:30 PM  

Cornelius Dribble: Elimination of attendance policies is a variation on trend toward giving employees "unlimited vacation days," and the motive behind both is betrayed in the author's admission that corporations expect their employees to be obsessed by their work at 3 a.m. The unmistakable subtext is, you get as much vacation time as you want with the understanding that if you actually claim a single vacation day you are committing career suicide.


This.  It's hard enough taking accrued vacation without the company making you feel like you're not "being a team player".  I've worked places with "unlimited vacation days" and it's the same as saying "you get zero vacation days".  In order for something like that to work, there has to be a huge cultural shift throughout the industry, not just at that one company.
 
2014-01-26 02:58:43 PM  
These are great ideas for a business employing people who love their work. Not so much for the company that employs people to do sales analysis of solar panels in the Pacific Northwest.
 
2014-01-26 03:03:44 PM  

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: Cornelius Dribble: Elimination of attendance policies is a variation on trend toward giving employees "unlimited vacation days," and the motive behind both is betrayed in the author's admission that corporations expect their employees to be obsessed by their work at 3 a.m. The unmistakable subtext is, you get as much vacation time as you want with the understanding that if you actually claim a single vacation day you are committing career suicide.

This.  It's hard enough taking accrued vacation without the company making you feel like you're not "being a team player".  I've worked places with "unlimited vacation days" and it's the same as saying "you get zero vacation days".  In order for something like that to work, there has to be a huge cultural shift throughout the industry, not just at that one company.


Very similar to the person who has a salaried position being required to work 50-60+ hours a week.
 
2014-01-26 03:04:43 PM  

Lsherm: My company just fired an employee that had worked there for 12 years because her husband left her and the bank took her house.  She was put up for promotion, they ran a credit check, and out she went.

It's the stupidest policy I've ever come across in my entire life.  They run a brand new background check every time you get promoted, and if you don't meet the same qualifications as a brand new hire, they can you.  And I don't work in a highly secure area - it's a university for fark's sake.  I'd like to take the VP of HR (it was her idea) and dropkick her across a parking lot until she realizes what a stupid, shiatty policy that is.


In my book, the notion of an employee being answerable to an employer for his/her spending/saving habits is right up there with an employer requiring employees to submit their Facebook passwords and the like. In a nutshell: F*ck you.

Here's the deal: You employ me, and I'll do the job you employ me for. My personal life is just that. I'm working for you, not marrying you.
 
2014-01-26 03:06:03 PM  

Bloody William: For one thing, stop calling it "human resources." It's the most disgustingly dehumanizing term you can use. What's wrong with personnel? Human resources frames your workforce as no different than any other resources. It says "Well, sure, we employ people, but they're all basically just the same as paper clips and desks when you get down to it."



THIS.


Use of the term "resources" renders nonhuman those to whom the term is applied.

Resources are lumber and coal and iron ore.

Employees are people.


/except of course they aren't, not to most corporate thinking
 
2014-01-26 03:06:16 PM  
Give up discipline?  Yeah, right, not happening.  Workers have to be responsible for their actions, and having a conversation over tea isn't going to cut it.  Serious failures must have consequences.

Also, no attendance policy?  I can't see how that would ever be abused.  Managers would play favorites and shiatheads in upper management would see to it that people take off as few days as possible.  Having a stated number of days off also keeps the goldbrickers from gaming the system.
 
2014-01-26 03:06:32 PM  

Cornelius Dribble: ...The unmistakable subtext is, you get as much vacation time as you want with the understanding that if you actually claim a single vacation day you are committing career suicide.


You just described Japan. We don't want to be like Japan. Most Japanese don't even want to be like Japan, on that front.

(Granted, they get a LOT of national holidays off. Well, more than any American ever dreamed of getting, anyway.)
 
2014-01-26 03:06:59 PM  
HR started as a pimple.
It is now a life threatening abscess.

I told you not to squeeze it.
 
2014-01-26 03:07:09 PM  
I love my job, we can call in drunk, sleep in the lounge, and last Wednesday business was slow so we closed at 10 AM and went home.
 
2014-01-26 03:07:30 PM  

ravenlore: Bloody William: For one thing, stop calling it "human resources." It's the most disgustingly dehumanizing term you can use. What's wrong with personnel? Human resources frames your workforce as no different than any other resources. It says "Well, sure, we employ people, but they're all basically just the same as paper clips and desks when you get down to it."


THIS.


Use of the term "resources" renders nonhuman those to whom the term is applied.

Resources are lumber and coal and iron ore.

Employees are people.


/except of course they aren't, not to most corporate thinking


Can people not be a resource, even a valuable one, for a company?
 
2014-01-26 03:08:57 PM  
The hands-off approach is fine for professionals but many entry level workers get away with everything they can, slacking right up to the edges of written policy. It's only the line drawn by that policy that allows employers to get rid of the losers. In today's corporate environment it's very difficult to fire anyone without it.
 
2014-01-26 03:09:03 PM  
If I'm exempt from overtime, I'm exempt from Big Brother, too.

My current company may be short-sighted and late to the party in terms of business direction, but they're not as bad as some when it comes to HR policies.

Forced Ranking: Unsure yet, as the company's new - we're about to have our first performance review cycle.
Proof-of-Death Policies: As far as I know, yes, unfortunately.
Bell-Curve Performance Reviews: See Forced Ranking, above.
Stealing Airline Miles: No. I've never heard of a company doing that, honestly.
Stitch-Level Dress Policy: No. And, no chance of that, here in the Pacific Northwest. Devs would be laughing their asses off on the way out.
Black Hole Recruiting: Somewhat. Tech folks are still treated as little more than a brain and a laundry list of technologies, methodologies, and projects.
Time-off Policies: No. We get a fairly generous vacation & sick day package, flex time schedules, and telecommuting is encouraged. Only when we approach RTM & GA do we get scrutinized, and it's more about critical availability & workload - if you're doing your job, no worries.
Anti-Moonlighting Policy: Yes, unfortunately. Too much IP tends to slide out the door when it comes to moonlighting devs, and the possibility of such muddies patent & IP management.
Progressive Discipline: No.
Doctor's Notes: No, although I still gather them - even at Microsoft, having a doctor's note in the rare case an absence is challenged is a nice CYA if you've a foolish micro-manager above you.
 
2014-01-26 03:09:55 PM  

shtychkn: All of those changes sound good for "good employees".  But not everyone is a "good employee".  So you need those policies to deal with those that requirement.


Well said.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't need any rules and everybody would get along and get their work done without needing to be managed, let alone micromanaged.

The real world has a lot of assholes in it. Assholes who ruin everyone else's good thing because they see an opportunity to get away with being an asshole. Thus- because businesses are usually very adverse to risk- rules have been implemented and managers have been appointed and systems have been structured in most workplaces to deal with assholish behaviour. The non-asshole employees (who are the majority) suffer, of course. But such is the price to be paid for one asshole spoiling the fun.

If you work in or own a company or business where the fun has not been spoiled, please keep the above paragraph in mind the next time you hire. Assholes are very good at convincing others that they aren't assholes, but well... try to do your best. Maybe even hire an HR consultant, too- you may be surprised how helpful they can be when given very clear, honest, specific instructions.
 
2014-01-26 03:11:47 PM  

ravenlore: Bloody William: For one thing, stop calling it "human resources." It's the most disgustingly dehumanizing term you can use. What's wrong with personnel? Human resources frames your workforce as no different than any other resources. It says "Well, sure, we employ people, but they're all basically just the same as paper clips and desks when you get down to it."


THIS.


Use of the term "resources" renders nonhuman those to whom the term is applied.

Resources are lumber and coal and iron ore.

Employees are people.


/except of course they aren't, not to most corporate thinking



I always thought that was a farked up term. Reminds me of the tv show "V", where the lizard aliens kept earthlings in cold storage to be used as food.
 
2014-01-26 03:12:35 PM  
As noted above-HR policies are useful for marginal employees, not star performers.  The difficulty is that it is illegal to treat star performers one way and marginals another way.  This is where HR comes in.  They help negotiate the path between what is effective and what is legal.

HR's role is strictly limit liability to the company.  Personally, though, I think that is a worthy and necessary role.
 
2014-01-26 03:13:09 PM  

shtychkn: ravenlore: Bloody William: For one thing, stop calling it "human resources." It's the most disgustingly dehumanizing term you can use. What's wrong with personnel? Human resources frames your workforce as no different than any other resources. It says "Well, sure, we employ people, but they're all basically just the same as paper clips and desks when you get down to it."


THIS.


Use of the term "resources" renders nonhuman those to whom the term is applied.

Resources are lumber and coal and iron ore.

Employees are people.


/except of course they aren't, not to most corporate thinking

Can people not be a resource, even a valuable one, for a company?


Of course! "Our people are our GREATEST resource!"

Corporate HR and Upper management spew touchy-feely shiat like that all the time. Do they actually believe it? not for a second.
 
2014-01-26 03:15:44 PM  

Mugato: This is the only HR person I know of who ever did anything worth a damn.
[www.unclewaltersrants.com image 320x278]


I think all HR people could be more useful if they're into underground pride fighting (13 kills!) and have an excerpt from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Lord Byron tattooed on their back.
 
2014-01-26 03:17:30 PM  

shtychkn: This person worked in HR, yet knows nothing about it?

No dress code and handle "Exceptions" as they arise?    Well, what qualifies as an exception?  Any entry level employee in HR would be able to tell you that if it isn't explicitly stated, and equally enforced, then it cannot be enforced.  SO if you don't list a dress code, then you write "Sally" up cause you don't liek what she is wearing you've got a lawsuit on your hands.


Pius, no progressive discipline?  Good luck attempting to fire someone without having a verbal and written warning first without having a lawsuit for unfair dismissal.  (Union states - you non-union states can fire your employees for any damn reason you want).


No Death Cert thing I get.  But it is needed.  Otherwise employees will have a death in the family anytime they want some extra time off.   Family already has to pass out death certs to creditors and other contractual parties related to the deceased.  So it isn't like they don't have copies of the Death Cert.

All of those changes sound good for "good employees".  But not everyone is a "good employee".  So you need those policies to deal with those that requirement.


I see what you are saying, on all your points (especially around progressive discipline), but I think they are somewhat draconian.   For example, the death cert thing: I pretty much agree with TFA.  You need to empower supervisors to trust their employees.

Of course that'st the real problem isn't it?  For all the talk about not trusting employees, many of them show a distrust that supervisors, without any sort of "system" would be able to actually manage their teams.  You have them stack rank and bell-curve review their employees because you think your managers will just take the easy way out and give everyone an "exceeds" ranking.  You also don't think they can figure out who their best team members are without putting these metrics around them.  You make sure they have to get doctors notes or proof of death so because you think that they will get rolled over by their teams.

The areas where I disagree with TFA (progressive discipline, dress code policies, and to a lesser extent: moonlighting) are more about protecting employers from lawsuit.  Moonlighting is a tough one.  If you have an ironclad agreement around IP, moonlighting shouldn't be a problem; there should be clear division on the work you do for your job and what you do elsewhere, provided you don't use IP developed in the office.  The problem comes in the other direction: if the external entitiy your employer is moonlighting for thinks your employee could actually be taking IP in the other direction, you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit.
 
2014-01-26 03:18:35 PM  

Ishkur: and have an excerpt from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Lord Byron tattooed on their back.


Is that what that is? I could never read it. Nor would I recognize it if I could.

cdn.pastemagazine.com
 
2014-01-26 03:20:04 PM  

shtychkn: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: shtychkn: SO if you don't list a dress code, then you write "Sally" up cause you don't liek what she is wearing you've got a lawsuit on your hands.

If you read the whole thing, she thinks writing up an employee like a freshman in high school is ridiculous.

I addressed that too.


So if "sally" isn't dressing appropriate for work, how do you handle it if you don't have a dress code and you don't write people up?  Difficulty: The policy needs to insulate the company from lawsuit.


If your gonna fire someone just don't state a reason. That's insulation enough.
 
2014-01-26 03:20:43 PM  

Mugato: Is that what that is? I could never read it. Nor would I recognize it if I could.


Yeah, she's pretty hardcore. But no one knew that until the third season.
 
2014-01-26 03:21:13 PM  

RogermcAllen: Funny, I thought airline miles were a reward for spending money (what your company does) and not a reward for riding a plane.  If she gets to keep them, I wonder how she feels about paying taxes on them like any other employee gift.


Does your company actually do this?  I would be outraged if my company stole my miles.
 
2014-01-26 03:23:37 PM  

Abox: The hands-off approach is fine for professionals but many entry level workers get away with everything they can, slacking right up to the edges of written policy. It's only the line drawn by that policy that allows employers to get rid of the losers. In today's corporate environment it's very difficult to fire anyone without it.


Most places I have seen that happen was where management abused the employees, so the employees retaliated by not caring and farking off.
 
2014-01-26 03:23:47 PM  

FormlessOne: Anti-Moonlighting Policy: Yes, unfortunately. Too much IP tends to slide out the door when it comes to moonlighting devs, and the possibility of such muddies patent & IP management.


Yeah, but non-related moonlighting should be ok.  Bartender, personal trainer, or cake decorator.
 
2014-01-26 03:24:20 PM  

StopLurkListen: My company has no vacation or sick day policy. It's wonderfully flexible, I've taken more vacation time than I ever would have earned normally, and I work harder than I have at any other place.

The downside is, when you leave, you have no accrued days to cash out. Also, if you're in some perpetually 'crunched' schedule, you'll never be able to take time off. But do far for me, it's worked out well.


Same here.  And then I left for another organization in same industry and lasted less than a year.  They watched all my time required a doctor's note if out sick for more than three days. One day I called in and said that I was going to work from home and would be in after lunch.  Did some of my best work that morning.  E-mailed it in to the bosses. Came in the next day and was told that it was against policy to work from home because "some people"  may think you are not working.  Gave it some thought over night and resigned the next day.  Which financially was not a great decision, but....
 
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